Being nothing more than a twenty something year old living in suburbia with the only immediate goals being to graduate from college and get a job as a journalist on foreign assignments, I’m sometimes left wondering why I even bother. It’s not like war is going anywhere anytime soon. But I still focus on it. I still read the news reports and blog about it and get angry about it. But why? I am living a comfortable (perhaps too comfortable) life. Why should I concern myself with these things?
I am not so optimistic as to say that war will end in our lifetimes. In fact, I believe that war will never end because there are certain cases where there is aggression and people will fight and die for a hose of reasons. But I live in the great United States, a country that is so far-removed from any kind of war violence that a Kardashian farting is a more important news story than a hundred people being blown to smithereens. I was at a protest in support of Gaza last Friday, and there was a young boy with a sign that said ‘Dear USA, Your 9/11 is our 24/7.’ I was struck by how true this was, but I was also quite sad. With the exception of 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombings, we Americans have been quite fortunate in avoiding death and destruction as seen by Palestinians and others.
Does this mean that if the United States were subject to more first-hand knowledge of war violence that we would be more sympathetic to the plights of those people in countries torn apart by conflict? I’m not sure, but I would argue that violence only begets more violence. When Osama Bin Laden planned and executed the 9/11 attacks, was he thinking to himself that if he would kill US civilians because the US killed Arabic civilians? Well, he did and United States foreign policy changed as a direct result. But rather than resolving the conflicts, it caused us to act in a knee jerk reaction by bombing and invading Afghanistan and then bombing and invading Iraq. I don’t see how anyone in the middle east could possibly see 9/11 as a good thing; in fact, it may have been the worse thing to ever happen to the middle east ever.
Obviously media and propaganda plays a big role in how Americans view things on a global scale as well, but I would like to transition awkwardly back to the original subject of my blog post: why do I bother writing about war and conflict when I could be doing a lot less depressing things with my time?
I feel that when so many good people are killed for no apparent reason anywhere, it almost makes you feel guilty to be alive. I also believe that the only way for me to truly understand what it means to be in a war is to actually be in one. These two reasons are what motivates me too want to eventually report from a warzone. I know though that it will take years, but its not something that I take lightly. I put some serious thought into this over the course of a year and a half. It’s important enough that I would risk my life for it.
If you think you can talk me out of it, please leave me a comment.